Sunday, November 15, 2009

Should I Really Make a Decision Based on Some Trees?

We never intended this house to be our last house. We always said that we would move one more time and then settle in and be done. I have always wanted a home with a pool. Art never cared too much about a pool, but we both agreed that we wanted more yard.

When we bought this home we were young(er) and looking to start a family. We wanted 4 bedrooms so that we could have an office and a guest room. To us the house was what was important. The yard here was tiny, but it never bothered me. At the time I spent 50+ hours at work, so the only space I needed was a patio to have a meal on and a bit of grass to spread out my chaise lounge so I could work on my tan in the summer! That's all I needed.

Then we had 1, then 2 children. For the first couple of years the lack of space didn't really bother me. But something switched in me in the last 3 months and suddenly it became VERY paramount that I get a yard . And not just any yard, but a yard with some TREES!

Oh how I long for some trees. BIG trees. The kind that drop leaves. The kind that you can sit under and be sheltered from the sun. The kind that you can have a picnic under.

I'm not really sure what brought on the sudden sense of urgency and the sudden fascination with trees and yard. Actually, I think a lot of it has to do with seeing how much my children love playing in their grandparent's yards. Both my parents and in-laws have giant yards and the kids just adore it. Every time we go to Nana and Papa's house it's like they've been taken to an enchanted garden. Mind you Nana's yard is an enchanted garden, but still.

It's funny how your appreciation for things change and grow. When my in-laws redid their yard a couple of years ago, my MIL kept the majority of the existing vegetation and landscaped around it. At the time I thought that was just silly. Why in the world wouldn't she just dig everything up and start from scratch? Now, I know why. It takes YEARS to grow beautiful trees and enchanting hiding spots for little children. I want that to be my kids normal. Not something they get to experience just when they go to Nana's.

So now, reader, we are at a crossroads. We are about to possibly venture into selling our house and buying a new one, all for the sake of a yard and some trees. We're looking at months of renovations, higher costs, stress, headache, fatigue, etc. We got an offer on our house tonight which is making this all so real. The time has come to make a decision. This house will be our final resting place until, God willing, we retire and hopefully move out of state.

To Vermont, because I want a white Christmas, I want to see fall foliage and I want to tap maple syrup from trees.

But I digress.

Now where to buy? Do we fight for the house with more land in Long Beach, or move to Rossmoor, with less land, so that our kids can have these world famous Rossmoor schools that everyone always talks about? I personally sort of came from the hood and I turned out fine, so not too sure about the whole school thing, but many people are willing to pay plenty of money to live there for these darn schools. Sure K-8 is great in Long Beach, but everyone keeps telling me that I don't want my kids to go to Millikan. They need to go to Los Alamitos High. So if we do send them to Long Beach schools K-8 and then move them to Los Al (because my in-laws live there), will they be all alone because all their friends are going to Long Beach High Schools? Shoot, we might as well move out of state right? that's a joke :)

But seriously, it's a lot to think about. These darn kids are always messing things up for us! I personally want to stay in Long Beach because I just love it here and have never seen myself fitting in with Rossmoor. But I have to admit there is a part of me that wonders if I'm making the right decision. I know I have to do what I think is right and not listen to everyone else, but I can't help wondering. We all wonder if we're making the right decisions for our kids.

This has mainly been a talking out loud session, so if anyone has actually gotten this far, bravo and thank you. I still don't have my mind made up. But at least I can sleep on it.

So my final question is this, am I absolutely insane to want to move out of a beautiful house in an awesome neighborhood with wonderful neighbors for some yard and some trees? Am I making much ado about nothing?

That my friends is the question.


  1. my goodness, it's such a huge decision and I don't envy it at all. We will be facing the same one soon and I am not looking forward to it.

    I grew up in Los Al. started at Rossmoor Elementary and ended up at Los Al high. I had wonderful experiences at all three schools I also felt very prepared when I left for college.

    I really enjoyed my growing up years in Los Alamitos. However, I am now REALLY loving Long Beach. But have the same concerns you do about middle school and high school.

    Have you looked into College Park East? Some of our friends just moved there and I was reminded about how cute those neighborhoods are. You get the Los Al schools minus the Rossmoor scene (however, I don't feel like it's nearly as bad as lets say South OC).

    Good luck my friend. I think you're doing the right thing. I have a huge testimony about yards. These days we can't let our kids just go off and ride bikes all around the neighborhood like we were able to do, so that is why we need good backyards to let them run free!

    Keep us posted.

  2. No, you are not insane. Your environment is a huge part of your state of mind. Especailly when you have little kids that need to run and play. I too long for the kind of yard I grew up in as a kid--an acre in back, an avocado grove in back of that and a huge empty field across the street. I would love more trees for my boys to climb. A creek to pay in, bushes ot make forts in. For now, I am so grateful for the yard we have, it is better than what we had before, but I can't help but hope for more some day. I understand your questions, but I don't have an answer for you.

    As to the school thing, I taught at Millikan for 4 years. And I hate to be the spoiler, but your kids will encounter pretty much the same stuff no matter where they go to high school. Even in Beverly Hills. There will be apathy, drugs, teen sex and all the stuff you want to think your kids won't be exposed to at a "good" school. The best thing you can do is know who your kids friends are, help them cultivate a love for learning and be around them a lot! Good test scores just mean the kids know how to fill in bubbles.
    (of course, this is coming from a totally biased hoemschooling mommy. But I was a public hs teacher, so I know a little bit about it)

    Anyway, I am excited to see what you decide to do. Think of it as an adventure!

  3. Hi Sarah and Greta,
    Well, after making an offer on a house in Long Beach (and subsequently getting it) with big trees, a pool and a yard, we backed out. It was over in La Marina Estates off of Palo Verde and Atherton, but the backyard backed up to Anaheim. I lost sleep and weight over the course of 2 days because it just didn't feel right. It would have been a great house but the noise was a big concern, as well as the high school situation. At the end of the day, I want this to be our last house and I don't want to be worried about for the next 10 years about our kids high school experience. I went to a pretty tough high school and while I survived just fine, some of the situations I was put in were just hard, and I can't imagine Taylor especially having to go through that as well. Syd is going to be just fine no matter where he is, but Taylor is my little sensitive soul and if I could make the school road a little easier for her, than why not? So, through all of this we have decided to focus our home search in Rossmoor/Los Alamitos. My in-laws live there and we love that the kids will be able to walk/bike to their house whenever, as well as how nice of a neighborhood it is overall, scene and all :) Sarah, we have thought about CPE, but unfortunately the lots in that area are quite small, and besides schools, our 2nd biggest reason for moving is for a bigger yard. At this point our home is sold but we have no place to go. There's very little on the market right now, so we will just see what happens. Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I really appreciate your insights.


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